Scott Topliss ‘I bought it for only 5% of its 2004 list price, so depreciation is all but done’
Why did you choose the car?
Petrol runs through my veins, but I also have kids so I needed a daily driver that was a little more than nippy but also has space for smaller people in the back. There weren't many affordable 300+bhp cars that met this criteria, and I was fussy too – I didn’t want silver paint, black leather, or a pre-facelift (2003) example, but ideally I wanted pre-2005 to reduce the tax bill. There are only in total 205 examples from 2004 in the UK, and I had to get this car when I saw that the last digits of the chassis number match my birth year!
What’s the best bit?
Not one thing but many. You could say it's a solid 7/10 in all areas, and that is what makes it so easy to live with and enjoy. It's even ULEZ compliant!
What’s the worst bit?
The running costs have been lower than I expected, but I needed to change the spark plugs; these long life plugs are £13 each, and you need 16 of them. But I won’t need to change them again until the car hits 162,000 miles.
I like my cars ‘stock’, but I did fit a PURE DAB unit to upgrade to Bluetooth.
What’s it like to run?
It will never be a cheap car to run, but the last practical car I had (a Skoda Superb estate) cost £200 a month in depreciation. Given that this Mercedes was only 5% of its 2004 list price, depreciation is all but done. But, as it's a V8, I do like to know where the cheapest fuel stations are too.
Any advice for buyers?
The ABC suspension is what kills these cars, but as long as it has been serviced regularly and is working well it provides floaty motorway comfort in normal mode, and a sportier mode that suits country lanes. Post-2003 models have better anti-corrosion treatment. It's important to find a car whose owner has stayed on top of maintenance.
Any funny mishaps?
I didn’t discover it has a heated steering wheel until April, just after the weather started warming up!